Maria P. Kouroupas
Director of the Cultural Heritage Center
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), United States Department of State
She oversees the technical and administrative support requirements of U.S. implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This includes support for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, a statutory committee appointed by the President of the United States.
Ms. Kouroupas’ other responsibilities include the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, a program that enables U.S. ambassadors in developing countries to support preservation projects directed at objects, sites, or forms of traditional expression. Ms. Kouroupas also chairs and oversees activities of the Cultural Antiquities Task Force established by Congress to promote international cooperation in the recovery and repatriation of cultural property. In addition, she guides the Center’s special initiatives in support of cultural preservation needs of such countries as Iraq and Syria that face harm to their national patrimony.
And, she is responsible for the Center’s role in implementing ECA’s designated coordinating responsibilities in response to foreign disasters affecting cultural heritage. In 2016 Ms. Kouroupas was appointed by Secretary of State John Kerry to the US National Commission for UNESCO. Prior to joining the U.S. government, Ms. Kouroupas administered the international program of the American Association of Museums where she developed “International Partnerships among Museums”, the first museum to museum professional exchange program.
While there she contributed an international column to the AAM journal, Museum. Ms. Kouroupas holds a graduate degree in history of the Western world.